Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Jerusalem Described

"Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:11-14 - King James Version)

This city radiates the glory of God. John tries to describe it. Notice carefully the word: "like." John uses it many times in this passage. The light coming from the city was like that from a precious gem. John goes on to say that it was like jasper, clear as crystal.

This confronts us with a difficult problem. The names used for gems and stones in ancient times do not correspond with the names we now use. We cannot be certain that what we call a type of stone now was what they called it in New Testament times. So we cannot be dogmatic about many aspects of John's description when he compares it to a type of gem.

What we call jasper today is not clear as crystal. Some commentators believe that John is referring to a diamond. Unger's Bible Dictionary suggests that it refers to "several kinds of delicately colored translucent varieties of quartz." (Moody Press, 1957, pg 740)

The light of God's glory shining out of the city, was most likely a mixture of colors. Possibly the colors were slowing changing adding to the beauty of the sight.

John describes the wall in more detail later. At this point, he tells us only that it was great and high.

There are twelve gates in the wall of the city, three on each side. On each gate is the name of one of the tribes of Israel. Forever, we will be reminded that the nation of Israel is God's chosen people. It was through this nation that God brought the Messiah into the world. Jesus was born of a Jewish woman.

Notice carefully what John says next. He says that the wall of the city had twelve foundations. Most commentaries refer to the foundations of the city. John only mentions the foundations of the wall. Maybe these are also foundations for the city, but John does not say that.

A wall around a city with twelve gates would have twelve sections between the gates. For the New Jerusalem, each of these sections has a separate foundation. On each foundation is written the name of the one of the Apostles. Forever, we will be reminded of the great work that these men did in the early days of the Christian Era in taking the Gospel message out to Jew and Gentile. We are still building today upon what they began.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here Comes the Bride

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven final plagues (afflictions, calamities) came and spoke to me. He said, Come with me! I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife. Then in the Spirit He conveyed me away to a vast and lofty mountain and exhibited to me the holy (hallowed, consecrated) city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God." (Revelation 21:9,10 - Amplified Bible)

John's attention now focuses upon the New Jerusalem; the Holy City of God. Much of what he describes is difficult to imagine. Some of it is unclear because of terminology. We will not completely understand the glory of this city until we see it for ourselves. However, John's description does give us an imperfect glimpse of its wonders. The description covers the rest of chapter twenty-one and part of chapter twenty-two.

Early in Revelation, one of the seven angels which had the bowls of God's wrath had shown John another city called Babylon. That city had been destroyed. Now one of the seven angels shows John the eternal city that will never be destroyed. Whether this is the same angel or another one we have no way of knowing.

The angel tells John that he will show to Him the bride of the Lamb. He then takes John in the spirit to the top of a high mountain upon the New Earth. The angel shows him the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. This is the bride. Of course, it is the people that make a city not the buildings. So the bride includes all who dwell in the New Jerusalem: the redeemed of every age.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

All Things New

"The Enthroned continued, 'Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.' Then he said, 'It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!' " (Revelation 21:5-8 - The Message)

The new heaven and the new earth will be a totally new experience. All things will be new. John was so overwhelmed at what he was seeing and hearing that he stopped writing. God had to remind him to keep recording the vision.

That we can freely drink of the water of life represents that all our needs will be fully satisfied in eternity. There will be no thirst or hunger.

Those who are saved, the overcomers, will possess all things because we are the children of God. Everything we need will be available. Our relationship with God will be that of father and child.

Lest we become too enraptured with the joys of eternity that we forget, God reminds us that not everyone will enjoy the new heaven and new earth. Many will be excluded because they refused to accept Jesus as their Saviour. All can enter into eternal joy, but they must turn from their sin in sorrow, ask God's forgiveness and trust in Jesus.

Verse eight is not saying that anyone who has done any of these things will suffer eternal torment. All of us have lied. All of us have committed other sins and continue to sin. It is those who do these things habitual because it is their nature that will suffer torment. Those who never received the Holy Spirit so that He could break the bonds of sin in their lives.

Those who are by nature cowards and are more afraid of people than of God are included in this list. Those who reject the Gospel and will not believe what God has said in His Word are in this group. Those who practice and love vile habits are included. Those whose lives are full of hate and anger and the desire to kill other people will not enter the new heaven and new earth.

Those who habitually engage in obscene and immoral relationships are mentioned. Those whose lives are full of occult practices will be separated from God. Those who worshiped idols rather than God will not be with the Lord in eternity. Those who by nature are liars will have their part in the lake of fire.

All these will be separated from God for ever in torment. We can rejoice that we will be in the new heaven and new earth. But that knowledge should not make us unconcerned about others. We must do all that we can to warn those who have not yet turned to God.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The New Jerusalem

"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' " (Revelation 21:2-4 -New American Standard)

The New Jerusalem, the Holy City, the Bride, the Lamb's wife, the city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10), Mount Zion, the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22): these names describe the place which will be our home for all eternity. We will be free to travel over the new earth, maybe we will even travel into outer space, but the home to which we will always return is the New Jerusalem. It will be as beautiful as a bride on her wedding day and will remain like that for ever.

John hears a great voice making an announcement. Like many other times in this Revelation, John does not tell us whose voice it is.

The voice announces that the tabernacle or temple of God is with men. Jesus is the temple of the New Jerusalem. God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, will live in the New Jerusalem. We are constantly be in His presence. In eternity, we will often worship the Lord.

Many things which are common on this world will not exist on the new earth. There will be no death. No one will ever die. There will be no sorrow or crying. There will be nothing to make us sad. There will be no pain, no suffering, no sickness. This world will know none of the effects of sin with which we must now daily struggle.